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Brother UK Cycling Podcast – Episode 39

Episode Description

With a ground-breaking world championships and a rejuvenated National Circuit Series to reflect upon, and the Ryedale Grand Prix and Tour of Britain to look forward to, co-hosts

Timothy John and Phil Jones, the Managing Director of Brother UK, have much to talk about in this packed episode of the Brother UK Cycling Podcast. 

Highly-qualified sources offer additional insights. Who better than Performance Director Stephen Park to offer a view from inside the Great Britain Cycling Team’s wildly successful world championships in Glasgow? With a table-topping medal haul in both para and able-bodied events, ‘Sparky’ offers his observations on cycling’s first multi-discipline world championships and his ambitions for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris. 

Our preview of the Ryedale Grand Prix contains insights from defending champion Abi Smith, a professional cyclist with the UCI Women’s WorldTour squad, EF Education - Tibco - SVB. As defending champion, Abi’s athletic accomplishments alone would qualify her to comment, but Ryedale is also her home race. Enjoy insights on arguably the hardest course on the National Road Series from a rider who’s ridden every inch of it from her earliest days as a cyclist. 

The Brother UK-sponsored Tour of Britain is now mere weeks away. Tim and Phil consider the eight-stage course and the wider context in which the race will be held, both economic and environmental. As a business with multiple awards for its sustainable practices and presenting partner of the Green Zones at this year’s Tour of Britain, Brother UK’s interest in professional cycling’s journey to sustainability is sincere and rooted in the company’s commitment to a zero-carbon future. 

Listen now to enjoy a detailed analysis of all the latest developments in elite road racing on British soil, with additional insights from the managers and riders of Brother UK-sponsored teams and from Larry Hickmott, the founder and editor of Brother UK-sponsored VeloUK.net. 
The Brother UK Cycling Podcast

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Episode 39: 2023 World Cycling Championships Review

Episode contents

  • 00:02 – Intro
  • 00.37 – Hello and Welcome
  • 03:47 – Part One: Circuit Makers
  • 19:28 – Part Two: Scottish Rainbows
  • 40.15 – Part Three: Sparky and the Convertors
  • 46.10 – Part Four: Ryedale Calling
  • 47.15 – Part Five: Local Hero
  • 57.48 – Part Six: Made In Britain
  • 1.05.17 – Outro



Timothy John

“If your passion lies in elite British road racing and you want an inside line on the teams, riders, organisers and sponsors that make this sport such a compelling spectacle, you’re in the right place.

“I’m Timothy John and joining me for every episode is my co-host, the Managing Director of Brother UK, Phil Jones.”

Phil Jones 

“Thanks, Tim. It’s great to be here. We’re going to use this platform to talk about all the key issues surrounding the sport. With special guests, deep dives into hot topics and plenty of chat, we’ll keep you informed about all things UK racing. Stay tuned!”

Hello and welcome

Timothy John

“Hello and welcome to this packed edition of the Brother UK Cycling Podcast, where we’ll hear from national performance directors, UCI Women’s WorldTour professionals, and riders and managers from Brother UK-sponsored teams as the season hits top gear. 

“We’ll reflect on the groundbreaking cycling world championships in Glasgow, with insights from Stephen Park, British Cycling’s Performance Director.

“We’ll get an inside line on Sunday’s Ryedale Grand Prix from local hero and defending champion Abi Smith, who’ll roll out almost in her back yard in the striking pink and black of EF Education - Tibco - SVB.

“We’ll look back at a rejuvenated National Circuit Series, and we’ll take a tantalising look ahead to the Brother UK-sponsored Tour of Britain before our detailed preview in the final days before the race, which starts in Manchester, our home city, on Sunday September 3. 

“Here to reflect on all the recent action, and to look ahead to plenty more, is my co-host, the Managing Director of Brother UK, Phil Jones. 

“Phil, thanks very much indeed for joining me today.”

Phil Jones

“Hello, Tim. My goodness me, haven’t we got a lot to talk about today!”

Timothy John 

“We have indeed. My goodness, it doesn’t seem like five minutes ago that we were concerned about a shortage of racing in Britain. Now, we’re inundated. Wonderful.”

Phil Jones

“Absolutely. I have just been pinned on my sofa for hour after hour after hour watching the worlds. Mrs Jones is most unimpressed. I literally have just been watching cycling non-stop. What a magnificent worlds it’s been. I know we’re going to talk about it, but that was an incredible world championships that we saw in Glasgow.”

Timothy John

“The key phrase there Phil, I think, is ‘cycling’ world championships. Not a track world championships. Not a road world championships.Not a BMX world championships. A cycling world championships. The scope and scale of ambition here was enormous, and it seems fair to say that that ambition was realised."

Phil Jones

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to expect, if I’m completely honest. It always seemed to me like: ‘Ok, this is going to be interesting. It’s going to be in Glasgow. Can they cope with the scale and complexity of a world championships?' 

“I think, to the outside world, the answer is a definite ‘yes’. I think Glasgow has been a tremendous success across the piece, whichever way you look at it: whether it be mountain bikes, XCO, track, road, time-trial, artistic, para, women’s, men’s: the whole thing has been brilliant. 

“All credit to everybody that has been part of the organisation for that, and I know it will be an enormous group of people. Just gigantic. To pull off something so large, with that sort of ambition, it does take tenacity, it does take organisation, discipline, resources, funding, all of those things. 

“All I’m thinking is: ‘Surely, that is the platform for a Tour de France stage, Grand Départ, some time in the future, in the same way that Yorkshire did years before. This feels like it’s building up to something.”


Part One: Circuit Makers

Timothy John 

“Now before we begin to reflect on events in Glasgow, let’s get back up to speed with developments on the domestic scene, and the event that claimed centre stage for most of July was the National Circuit Series.

“I used the phrase ‘rejuvenated’ in the intro, Phil, and it did feel as if what was once called the Elite Circuit Series had been given a new lease of life. 

“There was a new round in Dudley, the Guildford Town Centre Races were included, having been bumped up from National B to National A, and the Sheffield Grand Prix turned out to

be the showpiece event. 

“Pro-Noctis- Heidi Kjeldsen - 200 Degrees Coffee were the overall winners in the women’s competition. Wheelbase - CabTech - Castelli won the men’s series. 

“Corrine Side of Pro-Noctis was crowned women’s champion, and Ben Chilton of the Ribble-Collective was the series winner on the men’s side. 

“A quick word for our sponsored teams: Hutchinson - Brother UK finished third overall, while Brother UK - Orientation Marketing were ninth overall. Both teams, of course, competed in

the women’s competition. 

“So did this year’s National Circuit Series feel like a success for you, Phil, or still a work in progress? As we said, new rounds, huge crows in Sheffield in particular, but not quite The Tour Series: we didn’t get the TV coverage.”

Phil Jones

“Yes, still a work in progress; still building, for me, but what I will say is, if you look at the new round which has been organised by Chris Lawrence,a very, very, very experienced race organiser, and Chris is part of the team helping Marc Etches organise the Sheffield Grand Prix, so those guys really know what they’re doing. 

“I went to Sheffield. If you want a template for how this circuit series should look, there it is. Marc has found an incredible winning pattern where he coordinates the local authority and businesses and the teams and the city centre, and he gets the whole lot to work well together, so when you’re there, the city centre is buzzing. 

“The bars are busy, the coffee shops are busy. As the evening began to roll out, Sheffield was packed. It was fantastic, and what Marc does very well is he has a whole hospitality area,

right on the course. He had VIPs sitting there; all the local authority leaders enjoying themselves thousands of people around the circuit. Genuinely fantastic.

“One of the debates we’ve always had about this is: ‘Oh, we need television coverage.’ In my opinion, you don’t always, if you’ve got huge crowds. If you can put huge crowds on the street then there’s as much benefit to local sponsors as there might be for someone saying, ‘There’s a smaller crowd, but we’re on the television.’ 

“It can trade itself off. I think what Marc has done well there is that he’s put huge crowds on the street, which means he attracts lots of really great sponsors for the Sheffield round of the circuit series. 

“For me, it really is right up there. If you want to model what works, model that and got and try and roll that out in other towns and cities.”

Timothy John

“Absolutely. We wouldn’t expect less from the organisers of the Monsal Hill Climb: another of the most cherished events on the domestic calendar. 

“Another vital piece in the Sheffield Grand Prix’s jigsaw, Phil, I thought as their social media content. You were able to attend, I wasn’t, but I still felt involved in the event. 

“Social media isn’t an after-thought any longer for any endeavour and certainly not for a bike race. There was an endless stream of video clips and photographs to their Instagram and Twitter accounts. It was easy to get caught up in the action, even from a distance.

“So chapeau to Marc Etches and his team for a hugely successful Sheffield Grand Prix, and chapeau to the National Circuit Series. “It needed to step up in the enforced absence of the Tour Series and certainly did. 

“I think we have a bit of a rivalry for the ages, Phil, in the women’s competition between Pro-Noctis and DAS-Handsling. That competition went down to the wire. We saw that in the Tour

Series last year in the closing round in Manchester, and they were at it again this year.”

Phil Jones

“Yes, believe it or not, I was chatting with Larry - Larry Hickmott from VeloUK - before the race, and what I said to Larry was, for me, at the moment, I find the women’s racing even more competitive than the men’s. 

“The teams are so closely matched. There are more teams, and the racing is far more punchy and more exciting right now, particularly because you’ve got these two teams trying to hit

it out, punch for punch.

“They’re very, very strong on the circuit racing side of the discipline, so it makes for a really, really good spectacle.”

Timothy John

“Another women’s competition that’s caught fire in recent weeks is the British Women’s Team Cup. It’s sort of uniquely positioned in the domestic calendar: it’s a competition for squads not registered as UCI Continental teams. Equally, it’s not open to fourth cat riders either. It sort of sits somewhere in between. 

“Now, Georgia Lancaster of Brother UK - Orientation Marketing, just 18-years-old, won round four in Solihull, and then Ruth Shier from Hutchinson - Brother UK, won round five in

Naseby. Ruth, who’s enjoying her best season this year, also won the opening round in April: the Dave Peck Memorial.

“Now, Phil, our teams are first and second as we head into the final round of the competition in Hallesowen next month. Hutchinson - Brother UK has a comfortable lead over Brother UK - Orientation Marketing, who have really come back into it in recent rounds.

“Let’s hear now from Georgia Lancaster, the winner, as we said, of round four in Solihull, and from Mark Bottley, Georgia’s team manager at Brother UK - Orientation Marketing.”

Georgia Lancaster

“It was a pretty crazy one for me. I never expected to be in that position. I was racing the day before, so I knew I’d have quite heavy legs. Honestly, it was sort of, 'Let’s go and give it my best shot.’ I never expected to win it. 

“When I got half-way around the course, I dropped, and I thought: ‘I’m out. There’s no chance of me coming back from here.’ I just about managed to get back on. I spoke to my team-mates and started to think about what I could be doing better in the race. 

“It just came together in the finish. I thought: ‘I’m here now. I’ve done what I wanted to do. I’ve done what I set out [to achieve]. Let’s just see what I have.’ 

“I know that sprinting is one of my stronger points. I have been struggling with it. I’ve not got all the experience at the minute. It’s only my second year of road racing, I’ve not been in many bunch sprint finishes, so I’m not always getting myself into the right positions. I’m not always putting myself on the right wheels, but it all came together. 

“It’s probably the easiest sprint I’ve ever done. Just everything about it felt right. It was just amazing getting over the line. I never expected to win it.”

Mark Botteley

“If we talk about Georgia Lancaster’s performance, the trajectory that she’s on, that Solihull race came at just the right time, because I’ve always know that she’s had a fantastic sprint. That was very much in evidence when we’re on training camp in Mojácar in February, and we were waiting for a race where we could showcase what’s in the locker, and there it was. 

“It’s always nice to have a completion that you feel you have a chance of doing well in. We’ve won it a couple of times in the past. Hopefully, we’ll produce a strong performance at the

final round in Hallesown and cement our position in second place overall.

“If we can do that, it would be a massive success for us. We’re fully aware that we’re not at the level of Hutchinson-Brother UK. We aspire to reach that level. We’ve managed to win a round. We were a little bit unlucky at Naseby. We just needed to get one more rider in the top ten, and we would have won the round. 

“The competition is fantastic. As a development, it’s what we’re all about. We’re looking for success in the British Women’s Team Cup, which gives us confidence to take into the National Road Series. 

“We have the Ryedale Grand Prix this weekend. The riders definitely feel better about themselves and their performances. We’ve found a way forwards in the Team Cup. For us, it fits perfectly.”

Timothy John 

“So, Phil, we have an 18-year-old there, Georgia Lancaster, who’s only just finished her A-levels, and already has a national victory on her palmares. What will that do for her confidence?” 

Phil Jones

“I’m sure it will be brilliant, and well done to her. 

“It’s very funny: I actually hadn’t heard of this women’s team cup until a couple of years ago, because they knocked on our door to see if we would consider sponsoring it, and I was

like, ‘I don’t even know what it is,’ and, obviously, it was explained to me. My bad. 

“But I thought ‘That’s absolutely brilliant, because it just gives something else for the riders and the teams to aim for.' All of the competitions that they’re doing, whether it be British Cycling organised, or SweetSpot organised, this is yet another little competition, a bit like the FA Cup might be, separate to the Premier League, and I just think it’s brilliant. 

“I think it’s fabulous for Georgia. Hopefully, she can put in further fantastic performances in the future, but let’s see if we can get a Brother UK-sponsored team lifting that cup, hey? Whether it be Watto’s team or Mark’s team. We’ll be cheering them both on, so let’s see if we can get a great result there.”

Timothy John

“Absolutely. Victory for Brother UK, with one team or another, is guaranteed in the British Women’s Team Cup!

“Of course, the biggest domestic competition is the National Road Series, and it’s wonderful to report that Hutchinson - Brother UK are at the sharp end here, too. 

“Ruth Shier, who’s just in the form of her life, took her fifth victory of the season - all of them solo - at the recent Lancaster Grand Prix, the previous round of the National Road Series,

and, ofcourse, she’ll roll out again on Sunday at the Ryedale Grand Prix. 

“After three rounds, Ian Watson’s squad is third overall. They trail leaders DAS-Handsling by just 36 points and are only two points behind the second-placed outfit, Pro-Noctis - Heidi Kjeldesn - 200 Degrees Coffee. 

“Let’s hear now from the rider of the moment, Ruth Shier, on the art of the solo breakaway, and then we'll hear from her team manager, Ian Watson, aka Coach Watto.”

Ruth Shier

“This is definitely my best season so far. I’ve had wins in previous years but never so many as this year. It’s defiantly my best season. 

“The difference this season has been confidence. I think, after winning the first one, that definitely gave me the confidence to think, ‘No, I can do this.’

“I definitely felt good from the beginning of Lancaster. We had a couple of ascents of the Queen of the Mountains climb before I attacked, and I felt comfortable pushing on, so I did think I had it in my legs, and I just saw a really good opportunity when it slowed a bit on one of the draggy combs, and I  just thought, ‘Right. I’m going for it now.’ 

“When I attack, I always hope that I’m going to stay away. I suppose the more I’ve done it this season, the more I do believe that it really is possible, but it doesn’t matter what the level

of race is, you never know what the chase is going to be like behind.             

“There’s always an element of luck. You have to be lucky that people don’t want to chase. You need team-mates in the bunch to help disrupt it, the right weather, the right course. Loads of things can play a part, but, I guess, for me, if I don’t give it a go then I’ll never know, so I was always like to at least finish a race knowing that I’ve tried.”

Ian Watson

‘It’s a tough race, Lancaster. It’s a very attritional race. Generally, that’s what happens: it just comes down to splitting up and splitting up and then a small group at the finish. 

“It couldn’t have gone any better, really. I’d call that our first standalone win, if you like. We had a couple of stage wins in a national series race last year, which was fantastic, but this is the first time we’ve had an out-and-out win in a national series race.

“It was a big, big occasion for us as a team, and also massive for Ruth, the rider who got the win. She’s been capable of doing that for a long, long time and to see her actually do that

was amazing,

“Ruth took an opportunity, mid-race, got a gap and kept it to the finish, so didn’t just win the race, but won it absolutely convincingly as a solo win. 

“I couldn’t be happier for her. It was so well deserved. We’re made up as a team because we’ve been doing well this year and growing steadily and improving all the time, and it’s nice to see it come off for the riders.”

“For Ruth, like you say, I’ve been working with her for the last couple years. She didn’t come to me as a new or unknown rider. I knew that she’d been a good rider in the past. I knew

her from her past team. 

“She stopped and had a child and decided that she wanted to get back into racing again. She came to us to see if there were any opportunities, and I took her on straightaway because I knew her potential. 

“She’s always been strong and had some solid results but not at national level. It’s really nice when you see a rider who works so hard: not just for herself but for other people. She’s been a fantastic team player over the last couple of seasons, because she’s got this big engine and she’s worked for people. 

“We’ve always known that she could do that. It’s just been about giving her the encouragement and the opportunity to do it

“Four races now she’s won this year, including her national masters title and the Dave Peck Memorial, which is not a national series race, but it’s not far off. Everyone likes that race and wants to win that one. 

“To see the transformation within the team - as I say, she’s always been a good rider - but that transformation within the team over the last few years has been great to see. 

“I’m just made up for her. It’s her legs. She’s done it. It’s fantastic.”

“We’ve got the Ryedale Grand Prix on Sunday. We’re excited for it. It’s undoubtedly the hardest one. Lancaster’s hard. They’re all hard, of course, but I’d say this is arguably the tougher one. We’re all just really keen for it and geared up for it: to get a good result. 

“Positioning’s important, on the climbs and for the climbs and coming into the Abbey. You’ve got to be a good bike rider win this one. It’s got a bit of everything.”

Timothy John

“So wonderful to hear there from Ian, Phil, and from Ruth, and what a season both parties are enjoying: Ruth as a rider and Hutchinson - Brother UK as a team. They’re going great guns.”

Phil Jones

“They are indeed. Obviously, I spent a little bit of time with Ruth when we went over to the Isle of Man a year, or possibly even two years ago, where we’d hired a house for the team to stay in, so I jumped in there as well. 

“What we saw there was a very, very capable individual indeed. She’s clearly an amazing climber. The harder the course, the better Ruth becomes. 

“Sometimes, when I zoom out, and I go, ‘Why do we sponsor these teams?’ Ruth is a working mum, and she has to fit in a lot in order to race, and by helping to support teams like Ian’s, what we’re really allowing them to do is to reach their cycling potential. 

“And if you see where Ruth was and where she’s come from to where she is now, I think she’s coming into this rich vein of form now where she’s genuinely demonstrating her

capabilities as a rider.

“She’s a force to be reckoned with, particularly on these hilly circuits. Lancaster suited her down to a tee. Ryedale will suit her as a course as well, in my opinion. 

“Ruth has a young daughter. I draw a comparison with Lizzie Deignan. You can see that it takes a while after somebody has had a child for the body to readjust and for them to start to

build their form again. 

“I’m ever so impressed with the way that Ruth is riding now, and I think she’s one to watch for at Ryedale.”

Timothy John

“A hundred per cent. Ruth took her second British Masters title earlier this year. She began the season in a Great Britain jersey, representing the nation in the Zwift world championships, and I almost felt that she’d be an outsider for selection for Glasgow! It would have been easy to imagine Ruth setting tempo on the Crow Road climb!"


Part Two: Scottish Rainbows

Timothy John 

“Well, we’ve waited long enough. Let’s get into this world championships shall we, and, my goodness, where to start? I’ve got a load of facts and figures written down here, none of

which do justice to the eleven days of exhilarating competition we witnessed north of the border, but let’s just try and set the scene.

“It was the inaugural ‘cycling’ world championships, and it’s worth underlining that fact. Never was the phrase 'it does exactly what it say on the tin' more justified. Thirteen disciplines held their world championships in Scotland this year. 

“An incredible 2600 athletes competed in this festival of cycling, and some 216 rainbow jerseys were awarded to deserving champions in disciplines ranging from artistic cycling to downhill mountain biking.

“It feels lazy to wheel out the phrase ‘game-changing’ but I can’t think of anything more appropriate: all the disciplines together, and, crucially, para athletes justly sharing the spotlight

with able-bodied riders.”

Phil Jones

“For me, this is the template for the world championships for the future, Tim. I think we saw the impact of pulling all of these things together. Does it make this event bigger? And it does.

It became bigger than the sum of its components. It was huge.

“The broadcasters are far more interested in broadcasting an entire championships that they would be [in broadcasting individual disciplines]. You have to ask yourself: would the artistic cycling world championships be shown on a mainstream channel during the day? Maybe not. Was it on this time around? Yes, it was. 

“By knitting together all of the various cycling disciplines, para and able-bodied, all of a sudden you’ve got this gargantuan event: almost an Olympic-sized event for cycling. 

“That takes a heck of a lot more organisation, of course it does. But does it have more impact when it’s run as an entire championship? In my option, it was brilliant, from end-to-end. 

“I watched all sorts of events. I actually really enjoyed the short mountain bike racing, the long mountain bike racing. I watched the BMX. I watched the artistic cycling. I watched the track. Clearly, I watched both road races particularly. The time-trials, I probably only watched the last 20 minutes of each, because, of course, the top contenders were setting off last. 

“I was hooked for day after day after day.I had hours of recordings to catch up on. It was just great, and I think Glasgow, one hundred per cent, full credit. It was a resounding success.”

Timothy John

“I could not agree more. I don’t know about you, Phil, but when the championships were over, I had that deflated feeling that you get at the end of a Grand Tour, where you think, ‘Well, how am I going to fill my day today? There’s no Tour de France. What am I going to do?’” I had exactly the same feeling with this world championships.”

Phil Jones

“Yeah,without a doubt. I mean, the women’s road race was almost the closing event. Look, there’s been a huge amount of discussion, hasn’t there, about the course for the road race. Was it just some massive, big, kermesse/city race. A lot of the riders were complaining: ’The hardest race I’e ever ridden.’ All of their matches burned.

“Did it make for fantastic viewing as a viewer? Yes, it did. At the end of the men’s road race, were the big names you thought would contend the race there? Yes, they were. In the women’s road race, were the biggest names there? Yes, they were. 

“So, forget the course. Make it hard, and the best riders step up. Two very, very different races: the men’s race and the women’s race separately, but I think that the way the entire

programme ran out, even having a week between the men’s race and the women’s race, I think it was ok. I thought that’s brilliant. I didn’t really matter to me, 

“What mattered was the quality of the racing, and was it good to watch, and I really enjoyed it.”

Timothy John

“I genuinely can’t think of anything I’d change. Like you, Phil, I sat down and watched disciplines I wouldn’t previously have watched. The downhill mountain biking, for example, was unreal. Funnily enough, I’d met the winner of the elite men’s competition, a chap called Charlie Hatton, many years ago, when I was doing some work for Endura. 

“He’d just started with Atherton Racing, and I’d gone along to interview Rachel, Gee and Dan, and Charlie was just this quiet young lad, so it was amazing to see him pulling on a

rainbow jersey. And then, of course, Tom Pidcock winning the men’s XCO. Unbelievable. 

“And as for the elite women’s road race, well that was the finale this championships deserved. Absolutely enthralling, from start to finish, but we’ll get into that later. 

“Let’s have a few more facts and figures while we pause for breath. Now, Great Britain topped the medal table with 34 gold, 17 silver, and 15 bronze medals, but even this is a conservative estimate. 

“If you read the Wikipedia page for #GlasgowScotland2023, you’ll see the British tally recorded as 100 medals: 47 gold, 23 silver, and 30 bronze. 

“Now, the higher total includes all disciplines won by a rider in a Great Britain jersey, whether supported by British Cycling or not - events like the Gran Fondo and trials, for example -  but, however you slice it, the home nation topped the table, able-bodied and para. 

“Now among all these world champions and medalists, Phil, were several riders from the British domestic scene, our stomping ground, including, and we’ll claim her, Izzy Sharp. Now such is the trajectory of Izzy’s career that she spends more time racing for Great Britain than for Brother UK - Orientation Marketing, but a silver medal in the junior women’s time-trial? We’ll take that. 

“Cat Ferguson, another rider who we see frequently on British roads racing for Shibden - Hope Tech - Apex, is now a silver medalist at a world championships having finished second in

the junior women’s road race. 

“Ben Wiggins - remember that name? - he took a took a silver medal in the junior men’s world time-trial championship. Ben is learning his trade with Giles Pidcock’s MAS Design - Fensham Howes squad. 

“Will Tidball, often found inside a Saint Piran jersey, won the gold medal in the men’s scratch race. Jack Rootkin-Gray, Will’s Saint Piran team-mate, was fourth in the U23 men’s road race. 

“And a couple of members of the extended Brother UK Cycling family, Phil, guys who shared the road with you during the Tour of Britain One Day Ahead ride in 2018 - Jaco Van Gass

and Will Bjergfelt - were also gold medalists; newly-crowned world champions. 

“So, the flag was flown for the domestic scene, I think.”

Phil Jones

”I think the domestic scene, if you think about the headlines of the last year, and there’s been a lot of talking down of the scene, but what you can see here at this world championships is actually, look, things aren’t far away, really, Things are still in reach. It just needs to get slightly better organised. We need more races. The riders are there, and we can see from this world championships, across all the disciplines really, whether you’re looking at road racing or track or BMX or mountain bike, the riders are all there who can be competitive. 

“So, I know this is quite an incredible performance from Team GB, and they will look forwards to the Olympics now, I think, very, very confidently based on this performance at the worlds, but underneath that, what I would like to see as a post-worlds legacy, and something we can discuss with Jon, is, ‘Ok, Jon: how do we really take this and revitalise again

our scene?’

“I know that Jon Dutton, the chief executive of British Cycling, is already having discussions now about pulling together a small group of people to help him just look at the specific problems. And, in particular, when you’re looking at large-scale issues like this, it’s: ‘What are the simple things that can be done fairly quickly that are within our control, that will create a better outcome than the outcome we have now?’ I’m hoping that we’re going to see some really good future findings from that.

“But I think with these world championships what we have to remember is that there were that many disciplines within it. I mean, I was nearly rolling out my Super Burner, Tim, after watching the BMX; not just for the racing, but I still have visions of being able to pull a 360 on a table top. I think my age is going to stop that!

“It was amazing to feel excited about cycling again. It really was amazing to see all of these different disciplines competing within that window, and I’m pretty sure that when they look at that legacy piece: 'Have we inspired people?' Olympic cycles tend to do that, but I think that this world championships had something special to it that I sincerely hope leaves

something behind where somebody watching one of those riders win one of those medals is definitely thinking, ‘I fancy a bit of that myself in the future.’”

Timothy John

“Absolutely. You would have to be utterly without feeling not to be inspired by what we’ve witnessed in the past eleven days. 

“This is probably the only road cycling podcast, Phil, that will name check the Raleigh Super Burner, so kudos to you. A magnificent machine!

“Let’s try and get back to road cycling because the programme was enormous. 


Timothy John

“The elite men’s time-trial was won, of course, by Belgian superstar Remco Evenepoel. He took the gold medal ahead of Italy’s Filippo Ganna, an absolute specialist and already a double world champion in the discipline.

“And, my goodness, Josh Tarling, just 19-years-old, won a bronze medal for Great Britain in an elite world championships. 

“In our last episode, Phil, we discussed whether Josh, who only won the junior title a year ago, should target the elite title in Glasgow. Well, he did. And he ended up on the podium.”

Phil Jones

“What a rider! What a talent! Nineteen-years-old. You haven’t even got any data in front of you. You jump on the bike and say: ‘I’m just going to give this whatever effort I can.’ I think even in commentary they were saying: ‘You’re looking at a potential individual world time-trial champion.’ 

“Remco Evenepoel: incredible rider. Filippo Ganna: incredible specialist, and, actually, you’d normally put your money on Filippo Ganna, wouldn’t you, to take that, but all credit to Remco Evenepoel. 

“But I think Josh Tarling is something else. I think once they really get their hands on him in terms of, ‘OK; how badly would you like to win that senior title in the future?’ If he wants to win it badly then there are definitely further gains that he’s going to be able to make in terms of measuring his effort; all of those sorts of things. Really, really starting to chip away at those small things. I think all of that potential is basically there. 

“I think Geraint Thomas also turned up to it, probably thinking he would be competing for a podium spot, and, quite surprisingly, over two minutes down on Remco Evenepoel, and, let’s be honest, Geraint Thomas is one of the world’s best time-trialists. I think that just indicates where the gap currently is between the best and the rest.”

Timothy John

“Something else that occurred to me Phil: I wondered about the importance of being compact on the bike in this age of aero. We saw Jonas Vingegaard, a diminutive, very slightly built rider, absolutely  blitz the time-trial at the Tour de France, and Evenepoel, another compact rider, pretty much wins road races by riding them as time-trials, and, sure enough, cut through the air in Stirling to great effect. 

“Now someone else who maintains a very low profile on the bike is the former and now reigning elite women’s time-trial champion Chloe Dygert of the USA. Now, incredibly, Chloe’s winning margin was just six seconds at the end. Silver medalist Grace Brown of Australia must have produced the ride of her life because no one else was within a country mile of Dygert. With that said, Grace’s ride was no fluke. She was the silver medalist last year, too, of course. 

“Dygert’s return after that horrific crash at the 2020 world championships in Imola to regain her title I think, Phil, was one of the rides of this championships.”

Phil Jones

“It was, and you could see how hard that course was when people came over that finish line. That course was brutal, wasn’t it? Horrible, cobbled, unsettled parlours. Bumpy.

“You’r already at your limit, and you’ve got to do that final climb up to the finish, na you could see people just basically falling off their bikes, gasping for breath, so I think it’s fair to say

that the course really sorted out the person who really deserved to win. 

“Again, well done to the course designers. Clearly, they made that course very competitive, both for the men and for the women.”

Timothy John

“Yeah, both courses ended on that brutal cobbled ramp up to Stirling Castle, which was absolutely savage. 

“For a sport characterised by marginal gains, Phil, I thought it was extraordinary that none of the federations saw fit to bring even a fold-put camping chair for their riders!

“They crossed the line in various state of distress. I mean, it was quite uncomfortable to watch some of the riders recover. It was a pretty unflinching portrait of just how deep these riders go.” 

Phil Jones

“And let’s give a shout out too to Anna Henderson. Just a couple of seconds off the podium. Anna Henderson one of those all-round riders that we’ve mentioned so much here in terms of circuit racing, road racing, individual time-trial. She was very, very close, and it was such a great pity to see Anna crash out of the women’s road race, which I’m sure we’ll get to.”

Timothy John

“Yeah. Definitely. Anna finished fourth in the time-trial. She was second to Dygert at the first time check. It looked like her challenge was on at one point. 

“One of the themes of this championship, Phil, as we’ve already discussed, was the multi-discipline approach, and Chloe Dygert is a multi-discipline champion. She’d already won the

women’s individual pursuit before travelling from the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow to Stirling for the time-trials.

“This was another really impressive feature of these championships, I think. Not just winners in what you might call less high-profile disciplines, but super-star riders competing in blue riband events also turned out to be multi-discipline champions. 

“Like Dygert, Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky was another who won on the track and on the road. And Mathieu Van der Poel arrived in Glasgow as world cyclocross champion before turning a pedal.” 

Phil Jones

“Very interestingly, Tim, Matt Hallam, who was the former team manager of the Crimson Performance Racing Team, whom we sponsored has just opened a fantastic coffee shop over in Alderley Edge, so shout out to Matt. I’ve been one to the shop already, and it’s absolutely fantastic, so Cheshire riders get over there. I’ve already seen many WorldTour pros sipping coffee outside, by the way. 

“However when Matt opened the shop, Jaco Van Gass was there. I got chatting with Jaco. As you described, he joined its on the Tour of Britain One Day Ahead in 2018, and he decibel to me his schedule, and I’m like, ‘You’re competing in how many different events?’ And it was 10 different events. I was like: ‘When are you going to recover? When are you going to recover from all of this?’ He was like: ‘I’m on it. I’ve come in great form.’

“And that’s one thing, back to the comment that you made a moment ago, you realise just how impressive the recovery is. To be recovering and then be able to go and fight for another world championship jersey is, frankly, super human, and for some of these riders walking away wit two jerseys or three jerseys, you can’t be anything but impressed by that




Timothy John 

“The road races, from our perspective, Phil, as a road cycling podcast, really were the main events; and perhaps from any perspective. We saw brilliant racing from Fort William to Glentress, but surely the two world-class kermesses we saw in Glasgow city centre were the pick of the bunch.

“The elite men raced on a 271.1km course from Edinburgh to Glasgow, but really, it came alive, didn’t it, for the final 140km in central Glasgow. 

“When we reviewed the national road race championships in our previous episode, we talked about the difference between the British style of racing and the style in the WorldTour and how the national championships always resolves itself into the British style, much to the advantage of the spectators, because it’s so much more exiting than this ultra-controlled style in

professional races. 

“Well, here we got a world championships on a crit course. How much more British could you want it? It was like the ultimate round of the Tour Series or National Circuit Series!  We couldn’t have asked for more than that. 

“The course, in my opinion, really overcame any of the pre-race criticism. I think if you asked those on the outside of the barriers rather than anyone inside if they’d like a city centre setting every year for the world championships, they’d bite your hand off. The racing was thrilling.”

Phil Jones

“Normally, when you’re watching something like this, if you’re watching the big stage races, normally you don’t watch the first 120, 150km do you?  You just think it’s going to be, let the breakaway go, we’ll all sit in the group, breakaway gets caught, real race starts with 30km to go. 

“The difference was with this, with the men’s race, they arrived in Glasgow and it just went, ‘Boom!’ It was a complete and utter fight as soon as they got into Glasgow. I literally couldn’t leave the sofa, it was so exciting.

“You were just beginning to see, ok, lap-by-lap it was becoming more attritional. You could see where the break was going to go. They were laying down the power on that 13 per cent

part of the circuit. Lap after lap after lap, someone would put the power down, and the group would whittle down a bit. You couldn’t have written how that was gong to end, could you?

“Suddenly Van der Poel goes off. He puts that huge wattage bazooka down, goes off, and then falls off. You’re just going: ‘No! Please! Oh no!’ He gets back on and rides to victory. 

“Everyone who should have been there was there for the final reckoning, and I don’ think you can say anything other than, on the day, on that course, MVDP was my pick for that day, because I just felt that ability to hold that huge power, to put down a huge attack on that climb and get away. You could see it coming, but they couldn’t stay on his wheel, and I thought:

‘That’s it.’

"All credit it to him, and you could see what it meant to him. You could see what it meant to him at the end. He really, really wanted that. He was emotional. It was the jersey. Everyone wants to wear that jersey. 

“Contrast that with the women’s race. My goodness, I was off this east cheering for Lizzie Deignan I honestly thought at one point that she was going to go away in those final, closing laps where she created that little gap. 

“But you could just see Lotte Kopeceky, my goodness me. What a rider. She just had the strength on the day, didn’t she? What a deserving winner.

“But what I’d like to say there is that actually, what I love about Lizzie Deignan’s racing style: she was like, ‘I’m either all in trying to win it, or I’m just going to gamble everyone’. And that’s what I always liked about her racing style. You looked at her all race, and she was riding so smart. A bit hidden. Always at the front. Always in the position that she needs to be. 

“So when the final group when away, the final selection, she was there. She’s always thee. I thought: ‘Can this be her day?’ But when you saw the sgtrnght of Lotte Kopecky, the writing

was on the wall. It was going to be her day, and it was.”

Timothy John

“I think Lizzie was just a little short of legs right at the end, but it was a performance of real class, almost from start to finish. She was in the break, believe it or not, on the Crow Road, long before they entered Glasgow. 

“Now for someone of her reputation - a former world champion and a Paris-Roubaix winner  - to slip away unnoticed speaks volumes for her ability to hide in plain sight, and although

she was brought back before Glasgow, that was her modus operandi right to the finish. 

“I’m not expecting to see a race as good as the elite women’s road race at GlasgowScotland 2023 in a hurry. Like the men’s road race, the podium contained the strongest riders in the race. I’d interviewed Cille Ludwig many times in a previous professional incarnation, and she is such a nice person, so it was wonderful to see her on the podium.”

Part Three: Sparky and the Convertors

Timothy John

“Now, someone who had to keep a calm head trough the entire championships was Stephen Park, the Performance Director at British Cycling. 

“Now Stephen, or Sparky as he’s known to his colleagues, is no stranger to elite sport. He was previously the Olympic Manager at British Sailing, and I think they won more medals

even than the cycling team at Beijing in 2008, for which he received an OBE. He’s now a CBE. 

“He was the Chef de Mission for the Great Britain Cycling Team at this championships i.e. the man that the UCI can contact for issues right across the team, and he oversaw the logistical, organisational  and coaching effort that yielded  34 gold medals, 17 silvers and 15 bronze medals. 

“He’s very confident now that the Great Britain Cycling Team is well-placed to leverage what he describes as ‘medal conversion’ in the Olympic events at Paris next year. 

“Let’s have a listen to Stephen.” 

Stephen Park

“The road worlds is always a huge event for us anyway and it was no different this time around .We had about 200 riders, 100 staff, 20 mechanics, 19 coaches, about 61 other support staff, so cares, physios, operational staff, about 30 cars, vans and trucks. 

“We were well-supported by INEOS Grenadiers. They supported us with their team bus and one of their mechanics trucks. We actually had some other support from DSM, as well, in

addition to all the stuff that would be taking ourselves, in terms of team cars, a motorhome and that sort of thing. 

“The mood in each of those disciplines, whether it’s our freestyle discipline, within the track group or the road group, the morale within each of those groups was fantastic, really good, and everyone really enjoyed the event, was very diligent and applied; day in, day out, and particularly on the road; a road world championships is along old day for most of the people involved, especially for the mechanics and the carers. 

“There are so many great moments. When we had the wider people coming around: whether that was the number of kids in Glasgow Green watching Kieran Reilly winning the gold medal in the freestyle was incredible. 

“Or the huge stands that they had at Glasgow BMX Centre at Scotstoun, or the noise when Beth Shriever won her event. The electric atmosphere down in Glentress when Tom Pidcock won the mountain bike. 

“But I think the one thing that will really stand out is the number of people who were on the streets for the road races, both men’s and women’s races. 

“If you can convert anything in excess of 50 per cent of your realistic medal opportunities on a given day then you’re doing quite well. 2022 was the Great Britain Cycling Team’s best ever year in terms of world championships, and we won 55 medals there. This year we’ve won 66: nearly a 20 per cent increase. And there’s no doubt that we left a few medals on the


“Paralympics, we’ve got an embarrassment of riches ,so we’ll have more medal-competitive riders than we’ll have athlete places, inevitably. 

“For the Olympic, hopefully we’ll still be in a place where we’re travelling positively, in the right direction to have a realistic medal opportunity in every single discipline and give people across the country, irrespective of their own personal discipline, something to cheer about.”

Timothy John 

“So great to hear there from Stephen Park, Phil, the Performance Director at British Cycling. 

“One of the areas of the interview that jumped out at me was when Stephen discussed the mood in the camp. He said morale was, quotes, “fantastic”, everyone had a good time and enjoyed the event.  

“Now it’s often said that a happy athlete is a successful athlete - “happy head, happy legs’ is an old coaching maxim - but in recent years, it’s been fairly well documented that not every

athlete at British Cycling was happy. Some were decidedly unhappy, 

“Now that seems to have changed, if we’re to judge the mood in the camp by the medal table. Clearly, Stephen and his coaches are doing something right and the culture of the federation, at least within its world-class performance programme, seems to be back in the right place.” 

Phil Jones

“It does. Obviously, Stephen Park has huge credentials from his entire career that he has brought to British Cycling. I guess, Jon Dutton, Stephen Park, the people who fund BC - Sport England, UK Sport - everyone’s going to be walking away I think with quite a satisfied and content feeling of ‘job done.’ So, whatever the performance environment that Stephen has created, it clearly is working. 

“The phrase ‘happy athlete’: people often overlook the role of happiness in elite athletic performance. Happiness is key to people performing at peak, so whether you run a business or

whether you run a cycling federation, you want people to perform at their absolute peak.

“You’re always looking for that individual congruency in the athlete. They’re very happy, they don’t have any stress in life, they’re focussed on the process, doing their best in the moment, discarding the pressure of the moment and just really focussing on what they’re good at. 

“Happiness is an important part of that: that ability to be free, that ability to be in the flow, in the moment, and just go out there and deliver my best. 

“Any performance director in any sport will be trying to deliver that ‘freedom’ to their athletes. They can not only train them, but provide psychological support in order to gain that congruency of freedom to perform.”




















Part Four: Ryedale Calling

Timothy John

“Well, after this wonderful world championships, let’s move onto events closer to home: to North Yorkshire, to be precise. The National Road Series gets back into gear this weekend, on Sunday August 20, with the Ryedale Grand Prix. 

“Now Ryedale will be the third round of the men’s National Road Series, and the fourth round of the women’s National Road Series. There’s this slight anomaly, given that the men’s

CICLE Classic is a UCI event. 

“Now this s a brutally hard course on grippy roads, which, contrastingly, starts and finishes in the grounds of picturesque Ampleforth Abbey, an 18th century Benedictine monastery. 

“There are two overlapping circuits, conveniently named the large circuit - 25.8km - and the small circuit - 16.9km. The men will race for 162km; the women for 101. 

“We had some very high-quality winners last year. Alexander Richardson of Saint Piran won the men’s race, and Abi Smith of EF Education - Tibco - SVB won the women’s race."



Part Five: Local Hero

Timothy John 

“Now Abi’s victory was unsurprising for two reasons. Number one, she’s a world-class rider, reflected in the fact that she rides for a WorldTour team. And number two, the Ryedale course is literally on her home roads. She great up only two kilometres away! 

“This season, she’s finding her way back to her best form after suffering a knee injury earlier in the year, and Sunday’s race will be her final hit out before the inaugural women’s edition of the hugely prestigious U23 race, the Tour de l’Avenir. 

“So Ryedale, quite a significant event for Abi, one way or another. I was lucky enough to catch up with her recently and began by asking her just how well she knows her most local

national race.”

Abi Smith

“I know it inside out, be that a good or a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s both because I know exactly what’s coming. Generally, that’s a very useful thing to have in the back of your mind. Even though I know what’s coming, you never quite know what’s going to happen in the race because a lot of different scenarios could play out, and they do. You never know quite what’s going to happen when you turn up.

“My family home being too kilometres from the start is a pretty handy thing to have in my back pocket. Before I knew anything about the the Ryedale Grand Prix, my brother and I used to call it the ‘hilly’ loop; just the small circuit. We used to practice up that first, really steep hill, and, when I was very little, not being able to get up it all!

"It’s unforgiving, the course. Just constant up and down. It’s not like it’s one being climb up and one down. It’s constant, and it’s steep. It’s definitely just people getting pushed out of the

back every time it goes up hill. Hard is the answer!

"I’ll call it the ‘big’ climb. That’s the one that goes south from Ampleforth, which is on both the big ante small circuit. That’s the longest one. I think it’s less than ten minutes, but that’s tonight; that’s enough damage to have done. The others would be on the longer circuit, I assume: a little bit shorter, but just as steep, if not steeper, and that brings something a little bit different as well.

“Particularly if there’s a large bunch, which I believe both are quite big fields this year, which is really good, but the lanes are quite small, so I’d very hard to get to the front if you’re stuck at the back, potentially behind people who are dropping of the pace and you’ve got to go round them; use extra energy. That’s certainly what happened in my fruit year. I just ended up trying to catch up all the time because you get stuck at the back, so that’s one thing to think about. 

“Also, just the constant up and down nature of it means that often you don’t see the front, if you’re not there, because they keep pressing on. I watched the men’s races both years, as well, and that’s particularly what happens. If you’re out of position the first lap, then you probably won’t see the front of the race again.” 

“There are a few points on the big lap, where it’s one-and-a-half cars’ width, if that makes sense. Quite narrow. There’s not a lot of space. You need to be well-positioned.”

“The plan is to ride and enjoy it. Obviously, it would be nice to do well, but that’s not the main aim for me. I’ve got Tour de l’Avenir coming up afterwards, so that’s the main aim. That’s really exciting. I’mr really looking forward to that. Ryedale is to get me back into racing and just have some fun and see what I can do.

“I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know how I’ll feel, but, yeah, just having a good day out. That’s the aim really. I’m looking forward to it though!”

Timothy John

“So good to hear from Abi there, Phil: a WorldTour rider in a domestic race, but it’s her home race, and who knows it better than Abi, who’ll roll out on Sunday as defending champion?”

Phil Jones

“Yeah, Ryedale is a tough circuit. It’s a tough course, and if you’ve got local knowledge that’s surely got to be a card that you can play. 

“I was lucky to sit in the neutral service vehicle for a round of Ryedale: it might have been 2020. I did the whole race, effectively, in the car, just watching it unfold. 

“There’s this horrible juxtaposition, really. You’ve got this beautiful abbey of Ampleforth, where the finish line is. The photographers love it. The finish is so picturesque, but for the riders, it’s a brutal finish. It’s all up, effectively. That final sprint finish is probably four per cent or five per cent, something like that. 

“To win Ryedale, having knowledge of the course and local roads is going to be important, but you’ve got to have the legs, and you’ve got to have the positioning. I saw that from the very front of the vehicle: making sure that you’re at the front because of the very nature of the roads around there. You’ve got to be at the front if you want to contest the finish. 

“A lot of jostling goes on. You see a lot of attacking on the last one or two laps to whittle down the groups in order that the selection can be made on that last lap. 

“I would think for someone like Abi, I’m sure she’s got that in her sights to take a win again.”

Timothy John

“Yeah, that would certainty declare her return to form in emphatic style. She told us she’s racing at Ryedale purely for enjoyment, but when you’ve won the races Abi has - the CiCLE Classic and Curlew Cup, let’s not forget, as well as Ryedale - then you’d be brave or foolish to bet against her.

“Now I asked a moment ago who knows more about the Ryedale Grand Prix than Abi, and while VeloUK editor Larry Hickmott would never claim to know as much as any competitor,

never mind a former winner, he’s amassed a fair stock of knowledge in the years he’s attended the race. 

“Larry has covered the Ryedale Grand Prix since 2006 and witnessed countless stand-out performances from the likes of winners including Anna Henderson and Claire Steels, both of whom won in the colours of Brother UK-sponsored teams. 

“Let’s get the lowdown from Laz on arguably the most demanding of all National Road Series events and discover his picks for glory this Sunday.”

Larry Hickmott

“About 10 years ago, I interviewed one of the leading riders in the sport after he’d finished the race, and he said it was the toughest course of all of them at that time, and that time we had a great variety of races. 

“This course has climbing, it has roads that are extremely grippy, and it also has the distance in both the races to really be an attritional race, and if you look at the riders who have won it…

“Claire Steels being one female rider who won it a few years ago - 2019, I think - she is now one of the leading WorldTour riders in climbing races, so it’s definitely a climber’s race. I’ve

seen breakaways with riders like Richard Handley, and he was a climber. You definitely need to be able to go uphill quick to do any good in that race.

“You can never underestimate Alexander Richardson. Last year, he and Jack [Rootkin-Gray] were dominating the race, and then Jack had a puncture, and Alex went and won it solo. 

“Obviously, Alex has done well in the races he’s done this year, but you’ve got other riders in that team, Saint Piran, who have dominated the domestic racing, like Harry Birchill. He’s

done well in Belgium, as has Zeb Kyffin and Finn Crockett. He was up there in the Belgian race as well. 

“That team: maybe they’re going to go for the top five: one-two-three-four-five. They’ve had two one-two-threes. Can they make a better job of it?  Who knows. 

“There are always going to be riders who spring a surprise. There is one rider, whose name is on the list, and I really hope he is racing, who has won Lancaster solo, and that’s a rider called Rob Scott, who’s a Yorkshireman. And another rider who’s won Lancaster, and is a team-mate of Rob’s, is Josh Whitehead. They’ve got history in being able to win such races.

“The women’s race is probably a more open race. Ruth’s ride at Lancaster was absolutely amazing. To see her ride away from the riders she did and win solo was absolutely fantastic.

Lancaster is known for its climbing, as is Ryedale, so it’s a perfect course, I would have thought, for Ruth. 

“You have other girls, like Jess Finney: she’s won Prems before. There are a lot of other riders. If you look at DAS-Handsling: you know, Monica Greenwood. She really wanted to win Lancaster. She went close, but she’ll be fired up for this one, I would have thought, and she did well in Belgium. 

“There’s going to be some other riders in there as well who are going to spring a surprise. I’ll give one example of that: someone who’s ridden the women’s Tour de France this year: April Tacey. Who knows how she’s going to adapt to that course, but after riding the women’s Tour de France, I would have thought Ryedale is going to be quite easy. 

“I turn up at races in Yorkshire sometimes and Abi will ride from hime to the race and then ride home again. She’s an amazing athlete. I’ve interviewed Abi many times. I think I interviewed her twice last year: before the race and after it. She almost lives in the grounds of the abi. She’s so close to that race. It’s real home race for her. She’s just one a time-trial.

She’s obviously going well. It would be wonderful to see her do well again.”

Timothy John

“Wonderful to hear there from Larry, Phil, a man very familiar with the Ryedale Grand Prix as he is with pretty much every race on the domestic calendar! 

“Ryedale has hosted the national championship on three occasions, Phil: in 2005, 2008 and 2012. Can you see the nationals going back there? Or have the nationals outgrown Ryedale

in a sense?

“I mean, the last three editions of the nationals have included the circuit race championships which sort of demands a town centre location, and Ampleforth, while beautiful, is pretty isolated.”

Phil Jones

“Yeah, I mean It’s a fantastic road course, Tim. No doubt it’s a great road course. Fantastic, traditional, British. Difficult parlours. Rough roads, plenty of climbing. All of those sorts of things. So for a road race, no doubt. 

“But, of course, for a nationals now, we need a little bit more from that areas, so, yes ,it might be a wee bit isolated to pitch for the nationals there, but never say never. You just don’t

know, do you?

“And, of course, nationals are also determined by who’s got money, resources the will and the contacts to get that all together. Ryedale is organised by Bob Howden, the life president of British Cycling, so if anybody’s got the resources, the contacts and various other things, Bob has, so that’s why I say, never say never.”


Part Six: Made In Britain

Timothy John 

“We’re going to take a very quick look ahead now to the Tour of Britain. It’s tantalisingly close. It’s on the horizon but not yet with us. We’ll do  a proper, in-depth preview before the race rolls out of Manchester, our home city, on Sunday September 3. 

“Let’s take a quick peak. The stages have now been confirmed. There are eight of them in total. Greater Manchester, as we said, will host the Grand Départ with a 163.6km stage from

Altrincham to Deansgate.

“The following day the race heads to North Wales, for a stage that starts and finishes in Wrexham and rolls past our high-tech, Brother Industries recycling and remanufacturing facility in Ruabon. 

“On stage three the race moves on to Yorkshire, It’s down to Nottinghamshire for stage four, into Suffolk for stage five, and on in to Essex for stage six. Gloucestershire will host stage seven, before the eighth and final stage: a grand finale in Caerphilly on Sunday September 10. 

“Now, the immediate economic challenges that have blighted so much racing this year and which SweetSpot have suffered from seemingly more than anyone else with both the Tour

Series and the Women’s Tour on hiatus, seem to have been overcome to some extent for the Tour of Britain.

“The whole team at SweetSpot deserves kudos, I think, Phil, for even getting a race this far this year. It has not been easy, has it?”

Phil Jones

“It hasn't been easy. I think they’re still coming into the 2023 edition of the Tour of Britain lacking some really big ticket sponsors, so the fact that they’ve been able to have that difficulty and still put the race on, all credit to SweetSpot. I think the idea is, ‘Look, let’s keep going. Let’s keep showcasing. There is value here, in this race,’ and there is. 

“But we’ve come back to this issue so many times on the pod, Tim: the economic environment is not great. The Bank of England is predicting economic growth of 0.25 per cent. Confidence is low. People are suffering with interest rates. Businesses that have borrowings from banks are struggling with interest repayments, so this search that SweetSpot has will continue, and I’m sure that they will succeed.

“I’m personally delighted that we will see the Tour of Britain roll out again in Greater Manchester - starting in Altrincham, finishing in the centre of Manchester - and I’m sure that people in the North West will come out in their ties of thousands to support that.”

Timothy John

“Well, we certainly saw that in 2019, didn’t we? What an unforgettable day. Stage one of this year’s race mirrors the closing stage in 2019, with a start in Altrincham and a finish in central Manchester. 

“Brother UK, of course, will be right at the side of the Tour of Britain again this year, both as Official Print and Results Partner and as presenting partner of the Green Zones. 

“Now our green zone sponsorship Phil is an opportunity to celebrate our sustainability credentials, and we’re seeing sustainably become more and more of an issues across the sport,

aren’t we?”

Phil Jones

“We are. We’ve got this huge, big initiative by the UCI now, haven’t we, saying that WorldTour teams have to reduce their C02 footprints substantially, and they’re now on this journey of recording miles, C02 footprints, all of these sorts of things, not being brought to the sport by the UCI. 

“Now listen: rightly so. Unless you start creating targets, often people become apathetic about them, so you have to start putting stake in the ground somewhere. 

“When we first discussed with SweetSpot about sponsoring these green zones, these recycling zones, it was for that very reason, actually. Not just from a brand perspective to say, ‘Here we are,’ but, actually, we wanted to truly understand what could be recycled form all of these wrappers; what can be redone with these things? What are the big things that have to be done?’

“I think everybody in the sport understands that this is a journey that everybody is on. There are no quick and easy answers to the realities of running the Tour of Britain today. 

“Let’s just say, we’ll move the entire Tour of Britain convoy over to electric vehicles. The reality of going to some of these places, maybe like Wrexham, and saying: ‘We’ve got 100

vehicles that we need to rapid charge overnight.’ The infrastructure is not there.

“It’s nice to say, but you will get there. Maybe you’ll have a few vehicles on the convoy that could access some of these chargers. It’s about chipping away at these things and making good, incremental progress. Now it’s come into WorldTour, it is going to trickle down. 

“For us, this is just the start .Obviously, our recycling facility in Wrexham, which the race will pass, is not a globally-recognised centre of excellence for the whole Brother International group in the work that they’re doing. 

“It’s zero waste to landfill. What they do there with materials, in terms of repurposing them, is absolutely fascinating. I’ve been there many, many times, and every time I go there, I come

out goggle-eyed at the technology and the tings that they do to make sure that the entire facility is carbon neutral.

“Millions of toner cartridges enter that facility eery year and come out remanufactured or recycled, and there isn’t an once of waste comes out of it 

“For us, it was about developing a centre of excellence in our global group and saying, ‘Ok, things can look like this.’ Then, of course, it’s about the rest of the group catching up.

“So, for businesses, it’s a journey, and for the sport of cycling, it’s a journey, We’re all on those journeys to have a zero-carbon future, but I think it’s going to have very wide-ranging impacts on the way the sport is run, and where stages are run. 

“It could be in the future that a stage is wholly determined by the amount of rapid vehicle charges that exist at the start and finish, and if you don’t have rapid vehicle chargers in your town or city, then you won’t be able to hold a grand depart of finish. It’s going to come down to decisions like that, and that is going to get forced down. 

“I think there’s lots for the sport to think about, and I guess we’re going to have a lot more discussion about this on the pod in the future, Tim.”

Timothy John 

“Absolutely. We will be looking in detail at the sustainability issue our dedicated Tour of Britain preview episode with insights from Ben Barrett, the UCI’s Sustainability Consultant, among others. 

“If the teams want an idea of what can be achieved, well, they’ve only got to look across to Ruabon as they pass our Brother Industries facility on stage two. 

“Now, this might be an obvious question, Phil: what stage are you looking forward to most this year?”

Phil Jones

“Well, I’ve got to be very, very selfish about this. Clearly, the Altrincham to Manchester stage. Its roads I ride all the time. In fact, I went under the very bridge that was used as mile zero for the last time the race rolled out of Altrincham last Thursday. I took an afternoon off just to ride the bile. 

“I think it’s always something rather nice when you see these WorldTour teams on your home roads. There is something quite special about that. 

“I think my plan might be to ride out to Altrincham in the morning, watch the Grand Départ, zip home, then jump on a train in order that I can take full, full advantage of the hospitality on the finish line on Deansgate.”

Timothy John

"Now that sounds like a plan."


Timothy John 

“Great stuff. Well, thank-you very much, Phil. We have covered the proverbial country mile today: all manner of issues, from the National Circuit Series through to the Tour of Britain, via the world championships!

“Stay tuned, back we’ve got episodes coming thick and fast: special interviews with Abi Smith and Stephen Park, followed by our in-depth previewed of the Tour of Britain. 

“If you want to keep up to date in the meantime, follow Brother UK-sponsored VeloUK.net online and on social media, and follow us too: we’re @brothercycling on all three channels. 

“Phil, thank-you very much again, and thank-you everybody out there for listening.”